10 tips for optimising your email management

E-mail remains a preferred choice of communication for customers and business partners to keep in touch with companies and their managers. However, this preference can sometimes lead to an avalanche of emails, making them tiresome and stressful to manage. According to latest statistics, executives spend almost half their working day checking email, directly impacting on their efficiency. To counter this situation, it’s crucial to implement a specific approach to managing these email flows. Find out, in this article, ten useful tips for optimising email management.

What drives the increase in email traffic?

In the workplace, e-mails are used to request information, say thank you, make requests, apply for jobs or update partnerships. Thanks to their speed and efficiency, emails are increasingly replacing conventional mail. Around 320 billion emails are sent every day worldwide, including 1.4 billion in France. That’s around 39 emails a day for every French Internet user, so imagine the heap a company receives in a single day!

This massive use leads to an avalanche of emails for executives to manage, with the constant pressure of unread emails weighing on their shoulders. And that’s not all, social networks also have an influence on email management.

What are the challenges of email management?

Effective management of e-mail flows presents several major challenges:

Individual and collective productivity

Dealing with a large number of emails can easily lead to a significant loss of time, affecting individual and collective productivity. The result is often difficulty in concentrating on high value-added tasks.

Professional communication

E-mails are a crucial element of communication in many professional environments. Poor email management can lead to delayed responses, misunderstandings and overall ineffective communication.

Time management

Managing email requires time and attention. Without the right strategy, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by a high volume of incoming emails, which can hinder effective time management.

Task organisation and tracking

Emails can contain essential information and tasks that need to be completed as soon as possible. Efficient email management involves the ability to plan, prioritise and track these tasks effectively.

Security and confidentiality

E-mails can contain sensitive and confidential information. Poor e-mail management can compromise data security and confidentiality, particularly in the event of data leaks or phishing attacks.

Customer relations and satisfaction

E-mails are often an essential means of communicating with customers. Poor e-mail management can lead to delays in responding to customers, which can have a negative impact on customer relations and satisfaction.

Managing stress and well-being

A cluttered, poorly managed inbox can be a source of stress, anxiety and reduced productivity. Effective e-mail management can contribute to well-being by reducing the stress associated with overload and making it easier to concentrate on important tasks.

Our 10 tips for optimising email flow management

Here are our top 10 tips for improving email processing.

1. Establish specific time frames for managing emails

Set specific times during the day to check and reply to your emails, to avoid constant interruptions. Limit frequent checks of your inbox, as David Burkus points out in his book “Under New Management” (2016), where he highlights the positive impact that restricting access to emails has on productivity.

In fact, a famous study conducted some ten years ago by the University of California Irvine, titled “The Cost of Interrupted Work: More Speed and Stress”, shows that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 23 seconds for an employee to regain his focus on a task interrupted by the arrival of an email. When accumulated over the course of a day, these interruptions add up to several lost hours.

2. Adopt the Inbox Zero technique

Aim to keep your inbox empty by processing every email as soon as you receive it. Reply, archive, delete or delegate each email as soon as possible to avoid accumulation, gain productivity and reduce stress.

Here are the steps you need to follow to implement the Inbox Zero technique:

  • Delete irrelevant messages: for example, unsubscribe from newsletters or unnecessary marketing emails;
  • Forward emails not intended for you;
  • Respond quickly if this task takes no more than two minutes. After sending, archive or delete the e-mail;
  • Postpone the reply if it takes more than 2 minutes to write.

3. Organise your inbox with labels or folders

Labels are like tags designed to organise your emails. Using them saves you time and boosts your productivity, as they help you sort your emails and find messages more quickly and easily.

Categorise your emails using labels : create labels for different projects, customers or subjects, so you can quickly find the emails that interest you. Here’s a tip: did you know that Gmail lets you create up to 500 labels and sub-labels?

4. Use automatic email filters and rules

To optimise management of your email flow, use automatic email filters and rules. These sort messages according to your criteria, putting less important ones into specific folders, and keeping your inbox clear. For example, you can configure your inbox to automatically move newsletters to a dedicated folder.

5. Limit unnecessary replies and CCs

Avoid bulk mailings and excessive use of CC and CCI unless really necessary. By adding more recipients, you run the risk of getting more replies in return. Before you press “Send”, make sure your recipients are relevant to avoid unnecessarily overloading your inbox.

To reduce the number of emails you receive, avoid replying to all emails where you are copied, unless your reply is really essential.

6. Use standard replies or email templates

Create standard replies or templates for the common types of email you send regularly, to save time and ensure consistency in your replies.

If you’re going to be away, set up an automatic out-of-office message beforehand. This will help reduce stress during your time off, and at the same time maintain communication with your customers or business partners.

7. Work on the email content

Endless e-mail exchanges are often the result of misunderstandings. To avoid this, work on the body of your email and organise the content while being concise and clear. Here’s a few tips:

  • Organise your ideas using bullet points;
  • Use only short, easy-to-understand sentences;
  • Break up your message into paragraphs;
  • Be sure to check the addressee to avoid dismissal, as well as writing and sending an apology email.

8. Add a keyword to the subject line

When writing the subject of your email, choose your keywords carefully. This will make it easier for you to find the email later, saving you precious time.

9. Avoid procrastination

Deal with emails as soon as they arrive in your inbox. The longer you let emails pile up, the harder it becomes for you to deal with them efficiently.

10. Outsource your email management

Don’t let emails overwhelm you! Entrust their management to an external service provider, like ProContact, and free yourself partly or totally from managing your customer relations by e-mail. We have a team specialised in e-mail handling. Outsourcing your email management has many advantages, including

  • Optimised email management;
  • Saving time;
  • Refocusing on your core business and boosting productivity;
  • Customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Choose ProContact, the outsourcing expert for email management

Focus more on your core business by entrusting us with your email management. Our team, trained to handle email communications, provides personalised responses tailored to the needs of your customers, suppliers or partners. We always guarantee quality service, whether it’s a one-off or permanent contract.

Reach out to us today via our contact form or call us on (+33)1 84 76 24 03 for a personalised quote.

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